History

1788

This is a Grade 2 listed house that was built in 1788. The Okell family lived at Stretton House for many years with it changing hands within the extensive family.

By 1753 a Robert Okell from Aston by Sutton had purchased the Stretton Hall estate. Six years later one of Robert Okell’s sons was marrying Mary Eaton and part of the marriage was a dowry paid by her father, Robert Eaton, of £500. A four part agreement was made between Robert Okell, Robert Eaton & Mary Eaton, John Eaton and Samuel Okell & Thomas Eaton (the last being sons of the first two).

In 1800, John Okell the younger sold the estate to Thomas Hewitt of Chester, however Thomas Fluitt tenant of John Okell owed Joseph Parr money and this ended up in the Chester Assizes.

In 1836, the house and other properties, (including Rooley Moor Farm) and land were put up for private sale. This contained eight lots with Stretton House being marketed as a desirable residence for a genteel family. The notice a year later in the Chester Chronicle in June 1837, shows that whilst some of the estate had been sold, Stretton House was still in the hands of John Okell and family, as it was in 1838.


The tithe map of 1846 shows it was owned and occupied by Thomas Okell, who was recorded there in the census of 1841 and was still occupying it in April 1851. By October that year Thomas had died and the estate was up for sale by his sons. The estate also included Great Merryfall in Whitley.

1851 map from Sale of Stretton House

The census of 1861 shows that Joseph Smith and his family were farming 63 acres. According to a his obituary written in 1896, Smith had moved in to Stretton House on the late Mr Cragg giving it up, and became a tenant under the late Mr Benjamin Pierpoint, the father of the present member for Warrington. Here Mr Smith kept large numbers of pigs and set up a small stationary engine to grind his own provender, and finding it remunerative he started as a “swaller” and supplied his neighbours with what they wanted. About this time threshing by hand began to die out, and Mr Smith seized the opportunity to start a movable threshing machine worked by horses, which soon led him on to a portable engine and threshing machine, by which he was enabled to do a profitable business. 

By 1864 Joseph Smith had moved to Stretton Hall up the road, and James Willett had moved in. James Willett was included in Morris and Co’s directory of 1874 where he was listed as a surgeon; his nephew Oswald went on to run the village post office and another nephew, Arthur, became the village sexton. Around 1880 James Willett and family moved down to Stockton House, Appleton, and William Wilkinson, his wife Anne and family moved in.

They were followed by Warrington wire manufacture, James Job Smith who became the tenant of the six acre property but the house was put up for let in May 1883 with immediate possession. The house and grounds were auctioned on 20 August 1884 and a footnote on the bottom of the sales particulars states:

…and is a nice little residential property suitable for a medical or retired professional gentleman…Stretton House – Lot 6 in the Sale of the Stretton Hall Estate 1884

In 1901 the house was unoccupied. By 1906 Albert Percival was recorded as living at Stretton House as a farmer in a local trade directory and in January 1909 sadly lost a valuable Shire Horse stallion in a stable fire. Albert and his family had previously lived in Antrobus but emigrated to Ontario, Canada.

The census return of 1911 shows William Benson a single, 50 year old draper who was born in Warrington living there with his two sisters, Alice and Mary. According to electoral register of 1920 William Benson was still in residence, although by 1930 William and Jane Hamilton had arrived, and then in 1939, the Bennett family had moved in. Leonard Bennett was an auctioneer and his two sons (Leonard junior and Raymond) fought in the Second World War and are both recorded on the Service Register of 1945. In June 1945 Stretton House was put up for auction in Warrington and the Bennett family moved to Pump House Farm in Antrobus. It appears from the 1947 electoral register that Lawrence and Doris Pilkington had acquired the property and remained there for around ten years. In December 1956 Mr Lawrence Pilkington put the Stretton Guernsey Herd up for sale.

Mr and Mrs Colin Smettem, as well as Mary Gibson, were recorded in the Electoral Register in 1962. Pam Heesom has kindly supplied a photograph of Jame Smettem with friends at Stretton School around 1960.

In August 1969, Stretton House was put up for sale. The property consisted of two acres and an adjoining cottage. In 1974, Peter Harper and his family were living in Stretton House, and Harry Hudson was in Stretton House Cottage.